Salt Spray Samba

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Really fun shoot last night with Jave, Rich (aka The Hitman), and James out at Four Mile Beach. What looked like absolutely epic clouds in the afternoon dissipated to clearish skies by evening but swept back in in full force for sunset.

The other things out in full force last night were the freakin' wind and salt spray. Here's how it would go down: line up to shoot, shoot, curse due to massive salt spray drops on front filter, remove camera from splash zone, clean filter, return to spot, line up to shoot, shoot, curse, rinse, repeat. All four of us were dancing in and out of the spray to get the best comp while trying to keep our gear clear of the oceany blasts. Hence the salt spray samba.

But it was a dance well worth dancing because conditions were primo: incredible light in the sky, killer reflections in the sand, and beautiful turquoise hues in the water. And in the end, everyone seemed to score at least a few shots they were happy with, and so we rolled out from the beach a happy and hungry crew and headed to Betty Burgers in Seabright to celebrate our victories over the elemental demons.

Video below.

Technical Notes
ISO 100
12 mm
0.5 sec
3-stop HOYA Solid ND
2-exposure blend
Theory: I like to shoot at f/8 whenever possible because it's the sharpest aperture on my wide angle lens and it allows for ample depth of field for landscape shots. I also wanted to avoid a lot of spray drops showing up on this image and keeping my aperture at f/8 would help de-focus whatever drops were on my lens as much as possible. At the same time I wanted to open my shutter speed to catch the motion in the waves, but with the light the way it was at that moment, at f/8, 0.5 sec the photo would've been completely blown out, so I had two choices: 1) stop down to f/22, which would greatly increase the appearance of water drops on the image, or 2) toss a 3-stop ND filter on the lens. I chose the second route and it worked out splendidly! Then it was a simple matter of taking two back-to-back exposures and combining them with a layer mask in PS.


Jesse Bissette, Laws0n_Lu, JaveFoto, and 81 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. nalo.soul 90 months ago | reply

    Marvellous lighting !!

  2. Lukas Wenger Photography 90 months ago | reply

    Bom bom bom! Love the motion in the ocean in this one. You were kind of rude that seal. No wonder he swam away.

  3. Christophe_A 90 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Seeking The Horizon, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    Please add this Beautiful Shot to :
    Seeking The Horizon
    Seeking The Horizon

  4. gun postal [deleted] 90 months ago | reply

    . . . "because it's the sharpest aperture on my wide angle lens"

    What is your widest angle lens?

    And those guys taking photos with their tripods. I just noticed that all three tripods have very skinny legs. What's with that? Bring your Wimpiest Tripod to the shoot Day? Must be a bunch of amateurs eh?

  5. Joshua Cripps 90 months ago | reply

    Thanks, everyone!

    You're right. I probably should've asked him nicely and had a model release ready.

    My widest lens is a Tokina 12-24 mm. And regarding the tripods, I believe all of those in shot are carbon fiber, which provides wonderful stiffness and rigidity despite being lightweight. Meaning that even with skinny legs, those are all excellent, stable tripods. And regarding your last comment, the truth is it's not the quality of your gear that makes you a professional. There are thousands of terrible photos taken with the latest and most expensive gear, and fantastic shots taken with a camera balanced on a 2x4. The camera and tripod are only tools; it's how well you understand them, and your creative vision that allows you succeed as a photographer.


  6. gun postal [deleted] 90 months ago | reply

    Josh, don't get me wrong. I understand carbon fiber and composite materials being used in some tripods today. My point regarding the "amateur" comment was merely an observation. While your points are valid, my point was that No serious professional that I know of (those that make a living strictly from photography) would use anything less than a Bogen or something so sturdy you could mount a MiniCooper on top of it.

  7. David Hulme 90 months ago | reply

    The lighting is sublime on this amazing image

  8. Steve Boote.. 90 months ago | reply

    superb light Josh and excellent movement in the water,another gem mate.

    guess i had better ditch my superb lightweight,very strong Basalt Gitzo for something made of cast iron.Seems thats where its at :)
    have a great weekend

  9. reknowl 89 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Select Few (post 1 ~ comment 1) ~ NEW AWARDS & GALLERIES!, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  10. AcidZero 89 months ago | reply

    I can even SMELL the sea when I see this photo. Congratulations!

  11. ciccioetneo 86 months ago | reply

    I'm speechless...! :-O

  12. Nick Chill Photography 84 months ago | reply

    Congratulations on making the list of Top 20 Photos of 2010 in the group Flickr's Best Sunsets!

  13. scotscapes85/Heather Leslie Ross [deleted] 82 months ago | reply

    Incredible, an amazing array of light and colour, stunning work

  14. Photodestiny395 81 months ago | reply

    Beautiful color and lines!

  15. pb4ueat1 79 months ago | reply

    God's country...wish I could go....Im poor though...

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